Daily Express

Dogs on ‘a trail of death’

Scent of a corpse is fol­lowed from flat to the beach

- From Padraic Flana­gan in Praia da Luz Crime · Incidents · Praia · United Kingdom · Ireland · United States of America · Birmingham, Alabama · South Yorkshire

SNIF­FER dogs have de­tected a trail of death lead­ing from the hol­i­day apart­ment where Madeleine McCann dis­ap­peared down to the beach at Praia da Luz, Por­tuguese po­lice be­lieve.

The springer spaniels, brought in from South York­shire po­lice to as­sist the Por­tuguese in­ves­ti­ga­tion, are thought to have found the scent of a corpse stretch­ing for a mile down to the shore.

The same scent was de­tected on clothes be­long­ing to Kate McCann, in the boot of the fam­ily’s hired Re­nault Scenic and on the key fob of the car, rented 25 days af­ter Madeleine van­ished.

The dogs also found the same scent in the liv­ing room, bed­room and a wardrobe or closet in the apart­ment at the Ocean Club com­plex in Praia da Luz, where blood­stains were also found.

Other items also reg­is­tered the scent of a corpse, in­clud­ing the Cud­dle Cat soft toy which was Madeleine’s favourite and is now car­ried ev­ery­where by her mother.

Con­cealed

Por­tuguese of­fi­cers are now ex­pected to be­gin search­ing likely lo­ca­tions along the trail that leads from the Ocean Club, past the lo­cal su­per­mar­ket and phar­macy, down to the tiny church and on to a small side beach by an old fort.

In­ves­ti­ga­tors be­lieve Madeleine died as a re­sult of an ac­ci­dent but that her death was con­cealed and her body hid­den be­fore be­ing moved in the McCanns’ hire car.

Her par­ents, part-time fam­ily doc­tor Kate and con­sul­tant car­di­ol­o­gist Gerry, both 39, are of­fi­cially for­mal sus­pects.

They ve­he­mently deny hav­ing any in­volve­ment in the dis­ap­pear­ance of Madeleine and have re­peat­edly stressed that there is no con­crete ev­i­dence to show that their daugh­ter – whom they be­lieve has been ab­ducted – is now dead.

How­ever, the Por­tuguese po­lice have com­piled a dossier based largely on foren­sic re­sults show­ing how Madeleine’s DNA and hair were found in the boot of the fam­ily’s hire car.

The scent trail de­tected by snif­fer dogs Ed­die and Keela is thought to pro­vide a fur­ther line of in­ves­ti­ga­tion for de­tec­tives.

The dogs can de­tect de­com­pos­ing hu­man re­mains and hu­man blood even af­ter items have been cleaned and washed many times.

It ap­pears that Keela lo­cated tiny traces of blood in the McCanns’ apart­ment, de­spite al­leged at­tempts to wash them off. It is said that Ed­die al­legedly picked up the scent of a corpse in the

McCanns’ flat, in the road out­side and on Kate’s Bi­ble and clothes.

The dogs have pre­vi­ously trav­elled around Bri­tain and been sent to Ire­land and Amer­ica to help in mur­der and miss­ing per­sons cases.

In Madeleine’s case, pre­lim­i­nary test re­sults sent from the Bri­tish Foren­sic Science Ser­vice lab­o­ra­tory in Birm­ing­ham found sig­nif­i­cant DNA ev­i­dence. This is said to in­clude traces of Madeleine’s blood found by the dogs in the McCanns’ flat and in their hire car, which prompted de­tec­tives to fo­cus on the par­ents.

Most of the foren­sic ma­te­rial was only col­lected at the end of July and early Au­gust in a re­view of the case by Por­tuguese de­tec­tives with the help of Bri­tish of­fi­cers and the dogs.

Kate and Gerry were shown a po­lice video of a snif­fer dog used to find corpses “go­ing crazy” when it ap­proached their Re­nault Scenic.

When told that the scent was also found on the key fob, Kate is re­ported to have said that, in her work as a locum GP, she came into con­tact with six corpses in the weeks be­fore the hol­i­day.

Ex­perts say the cru­cial dif­fi­culty with snif­fer dog “ev­i­dence” is that it can­not dis­tin­guish be­tween corpses.

This type of dog is trained to find bod­ies, not iden­tify where bod­ies have been.

 ?? Pic­ture: SOLARPIX ?? GRIM ROUTE: Bri­tish snif­fer dogs are be­lieved to have de­tected the scent of a corpse for a mile from the McCanns’ apart­ment, past the tapas bar, su­per­mar­ket and church, to the shore­line
Pic­ture: SOLARPIX GRIM ROUTE: Bri­tish snif­fer dogs are be­lieved to have de­tected the scent of a corpse for a mile from the McCanns’ apart­ment, past the tapas bar, su­per­mar­ket and church, to the shore­line
 ??  ?? RID­DLE: The church where the McCanns prayed is on the death trail
RID­DLE: The church where the McCanns prayed is on the death trail
 ??  ?? PROBED: McCanns’ apart­ment, where a death scent was picked up
PROBED: McCanns’ apart­ment, where a death scent was picked up

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